The carrot appears to have disappeared.
My recent trip to Bangladesh was to culminate with me speaking at a gathering of nearly 1,000 church leaders, pastors and members. Instead (because of political unrest, a nationwide strike and a blockade) most of my week was spent at a missions guest house in Dhaka.
Had I known the final outcome in advance, would I have traveled nearly 20,000 miles, spent 50 hours in airports and planes, and have DoorWays pay over $2,000 for me to go? I hope so, because what could have been a very frustrating, unsatisfying trip…was not.
It occurs to me that Jesus may sometimes ask us to be obedient with no carrot at the end of the stick; no photos or mementos to bring home and no exciting stories of magnificent opportunities. All week long, it seemed He asked me time after time, “Is it enough to be obedient?” My repeated reply was, “Yes, it is enough. I’m glad I obeyed and came.”
Had I gone to the gathering, I would have missed the opportunity to speak into the life of a college intern who hopes one day to serve as a missionary in Indonesia. There would have been less time for interaction with the dear friends who invited me. I could not have helped them with some technical issues and they may not have given me the encouragement to finish a project I had already begun.
In the end, the carrot really didn’t disappear. Rather, it may have changed from a mere vegetable into lasting fruit.
“Live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way:
bearing fruit in every good work.”
Colossians 1:10 (NIV)